Monday, March 26, 2012

The Secret of a Slave

Sa’eed Ibn Musayyab narrates:
“One year, there was a severe famine and so the people gathered together to pray for the rains.  I looked around and my eyes fell upon a black slave, who had separated himself from the crowd and emerged on top of a small hill.  I advanced in his direction and when I came near him, I noticed that his lips were moving in prayer.  Hardly had he completed his prayers, when a cloud appeared in the sky.
Seeing the cloud, the black slave praised Allah and moved away. Very soon, rains lashed us so heavily that we thought we might perish.
I ran after the slave and observed that he entered the house of Imam Sajjad (a.s.).  I arrived before the Imam (a.s.) and said:
“O’ My Master!  In your house there is a black slave; oblige me by selling him to me.”
He (a.s.) replied, “O’ Sa’eed! Why should I not gift him to you, instead,”and ordered the head of his slaves to bring all the servants before me.  When they had assembled, I noticed that the black slave was not amongst them.
I said, “The one whom I desire, is not amongst them.”
The Imam (a.s.) said, “There remains no other slave except one.”
He then ordered him to be brought forth.  When the slave was brought before me, I saw that he was the very person whom I had sought and so I said, “He is the one I need.”
“O’ Slave!  Henceforth, Sa’eed is your master so go with him,” instructed the Imam (a.s.).
The slave turned to me and asked, “What prompted you to separate me from my master?”
I replied, “When I witnessed your prayers for the rains being accepted, I wished that I could own you.”
When he heard this, the slave stretched out his hands in supplication and, turning his face towards the skies, beseeched:
“O’ My Lord!  This was a secret between You and me.  Now that You have divulged it, grant me death and take me towards Yourself.”
The Imam (a.s.) and all those present, wept over the position of the slave, while I, shedding tears, came out of the house.  No sooner had I reached my own house, than the Imam’s (a.s.) messenger arrived and said, “Come along if you wish to takepart in the funeral procession of your companion.”
I returned to the Imam’s (a.s.) house along with the messenger only to find that the slave had passed away.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Three Bani Israeilis in a Cave

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has related: 
“Three persons from the tribe of Bani Israel got together and started out on a journey.  On the way, clouds gathered above them and it started to pour with rain and so they sought shelter in a nearby cave.
Suddenly, a large boulder slipped and blocked the entrance to the cave, trapping the three inside and transforming the day into a dark night for them.  They had no other alternative except to turn to God for help.
“Let us use our sincere deeds as a means to obtain deliverance from this predicament,” suggested one of them. 
All the others agreed with the suggestion.
One of them said, “O’ Lord! You are aware that I have an extremely attractive cousin and that I was infatuated and obsessed with her.  One day, finding her alone, I took hold of her and wanted to satisfy my carnal desires, when she spoke out to me saying: O’ My cousin!Fear God and do not harm my chastity’. Hearing this, I crushed my lustful tendencies and decided against the evil act.  O’ Lord!  If that deed of mine had been out of absolute sincerityand only for the purpose of acquiring Your pleasure, deliver us from grief and perdition.”  Suddenly they witnessed that the huge boulder had moved away a little, faintly brightening up the interior of the cave.
The second person spoke out,“O’ Lord! You know that I had a father and a mother, so old that their bodies had bent over due to their excessive age, and that I used to tend to them regularly.  One night, having brought them their food, I observed that both of them were   asleep.  I passed the entire night near them, the food in hand, without waking them up for fear of disturbing them.  O’ Lord!  If this deed of mine had been only for the sake of Your pleasure and happiness, open up a way for us and grant us salvation.” 
As he completed his speech, the group noticed that the boulder had moved aside a little more.
The third person supplicated, “O’ Knower of every hidden and manifest! You know Yourself that I had a worker who used to work for me.  When his term had reached its termination, I handed over to him his wages, but he was not pleased and desired more and, in a state of dissatisfaction and displeasure, he went away.  I used his wage to purchase a goat, which I looked after separately and very soon I had a flock in my possession.  After a period of time,the worker again approached me for his wage and I pointed towards the flock of sheep.Initially, he thought I was ridiculing him, but later, realizing my seriousness, took the entireflock and left. O’ Lord! If this act had been prompted by sincerity and had only been for Your pleasure, deliver us from this quandary.” 
At this point the entire boulder moved aside from the mouth of the cave and all three emerged from it, joyous and ecstatic, and continued their journey.
Namunah-e-Ma’arif, vol. 1, pg. 53; Farajun Ba’d al-Shiddah, pg. 23; Mahaasin-e-Barqi, vol. 2, pg. 253. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"You are a Mujtahid! You are a Mujtahid! You are a Mujtahid!"

After the demise of Ayatullah al-Uzma Haaj Sheikh Muhammad Hasan Najafi (r.a.) (the author of al-Jawaahir) the people considered Sheikh Murtuza Ansari as the Marja-e-Taqleed (the most learned Mujtahid to be followed).  His books such as ar-Rasael and al-Makaseb, which are regarded as the prime religious texts at Islamic seminaries till this day.
Consequently, they requested him to compile his Tauzeeh al-Masail (book of Islamic Law). Upon this he said: "I refuse to accept this great position because Sayyidul Ulama (the chief of the learned), Ayatullah Mazandarani is yet amongst us. He is more learned than me and resides at Babel. Thus I cannot compile my own Tauzeeh al-Masail."
Sheikh Murtuza Ansari (r.a.) wrote a letter to Sayyid ul Ulama requesting him to come to Najaf al-Ashraf so that he may assume control and supervision of the Shia institutes of learning.
Sayyidul Ulama replied to Sheikh Ansari: "It is true that when I was at Najaf al-Ashraf, I used to be more knowledgeable in jurisprudence when I held debates with you. But I have settled down in Babel for quite some time. I do not participate in classes nor do I teach any more. I have also stopped all kinds of debates and discussions. Hence, I consider you more learned and eligible for this position and request you to accept the same."
Despite this communication, Sheikh Murtuza Ansari refused to accept the position of Marja-e-Taqleed and thought to himself, "If my Master, Hazrat Imam Wali-al-Asr gives me the permission and bestows favor upon me by appointing me to this post, I shall accept it."
One day Sheikh Ansari was delivering a lecture to his students. A stranger entered the gathering. He seemed to be of a noble and dignified lineage. The Sheikh welcomed him with respect. The stranger posed a question to Sheikh Ansari in the presence of his students,
"What is the order for a woman whose husband has transformed into any other form (Maskh)?" (Maskh is the transformation of a human being into a stone, plant or an animal. This type of punishment was prevalent in the age of Prophets prior to Holy Prophet [s.a.w.a.]).
Since this type of punishment has not been decreed for the people of this age, we do not find this problem in any of the books of Islamic Law.
Sheikh Ansari answered, "As this question is not mentioned in the books of jurisprudence, I am unable to reply."
"But suppose such an eventuality does occur, then what would be the duty of the woman whose husband has undergone transformation?" the stranger persisted.
At this Sheikh Ansari replied, "My opinion (Fatwa) is that a woman whose husband has turned into an animal should observe iddah of divorce and after this period, she can remarry. It is because her husband is still alive and has a soul intact. As for the woman whose husband has turned into a dead object, must observe the iddah of death (of husband). She can marry only after this iddah. This is due to the fact that her husband has turned into a dead thing and should be considered dead."
Upon hearing this gentleman said, "You are a Mujtahid! You are a Mujtahid! You are a Mujtahid!"
Then he got up and went out of the gathering. Sheikh Ansari realized that it was none but Hazrat Imam Wali-e-Asr (A.S.) and that he (A.S.) has given him his express permission to become Maraja-e-Taqleed. He told his students to search for this gentleman. The students rushed out, looked for him everywhere but without success. After this Sheikh Ansari agreed to compile his laws of Shariah so that people could follow him (i.e. do his Taqleed).
   He passed away in holy Najaf. 

Ref: (Ganjeena-e-Danishmandan, Vol. 8) 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Imam Husain’s (a.s.) Kindness to the Camel-Driver

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“A man was trailing a woman when she was busy circling the Ka’bah.  The woman was raising her hands in prayer when the man placed his hand upon her arm; at that moment God glued his hand to the women’s arm.
People thronged to witness this strange happening in such great numbers that all movement was hindered.  A person was sent to the Emir of Makkah to inform him of the incident.  He gathered all the scholars around him and together they tried to settle on a suitable resolution to the problem.  Many ordinary people also assembled, interested to know the sentence that would be pronounced for this crime.
As they all stood perplexed over the issue, the Emir finally said, “Is there anyone from the family of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) here?”
Those around him said, “Yes!  Husain Ibn 'A'li (a.s.) is here.”
That night, the Emir ordered the Imam (a.s.) to be brought before him.  He sought to know the ruling for this incident from the Imam (a.s.).
First, the Imam (a.s.) turned towards the Ka’bah and raised his hands.  He stood in this position for a while, after which he supplicated.  Then, approaching the man the Imam separated his glued hand from the arm of the woman by the power of his Imamate.
The Emir asked the Imam (a.s.), “O’ Husain (a.s.)!  Should I not punish him?”
“No,” replied the Imam (a.s.).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Abu Ayyub Ansaari, the Host of Holy Prophet (PBUH)

Abu Ayyub Ansaari was one of the distinguished companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).  When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, all the tribes of Madinah requested him to stay with them, but he said:
“The place where I stay shall depend on where my camel sits down.”
When the procession reached a place near the houses of Bani Maalik Ibn Najjar, which later came to house the door of the Prophet’s mosque, the camel sat down to rest.  But a short while later it stood up again and began to walk, only to return and rest at the place where it had previously rested.
The people began approaching the Holy Prophet (s.a.w), and inviting him to be their guest.  Seeing this, Abu Ayyub immediately lifted the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.) saddlebag from the camel’s back and carried it into his own house.
When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) noticed that the saddlebag was missing, he inquired, “What has happened to the saddle-bag?”
Those around him informed him that Abu Ayyub had taken it into his own house.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) remarked: “A person should alwaysaccompany his luggage,” and then proceeded into Abu Ayyub’s house and stayed there till the time when the houses around the mosque were constructed.
Initially, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) was accommodated in a room on the ground floor, whereas Abu Ayyub occupied the top storey, but later, he requested:
“O’ Messenger of Allah!  It is unbecoming that you stay below, while we occupy the top storey; it would be more appropriate if you were to move to the top.”
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) agreed and asked for his things to be moved to the top.
Abu Ayyub was in the ranks of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and participated in battles like Badr and Uhud, fighting against the enemies of Islam and putting on a scintillating exhibition of valour and courage.
One night, on the way back home after victory in the battle of Khaibar, Abu Ayyub stayed awake the entire night, guarding the tent of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).
When morning dawned, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) inquired: “Who is out there?”
“It’s me, Abu Ayyub,” came the reply.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) twice said, “May Allah exhibit mercy upon you!”
Thus, Abu Ayyub, through the kindness he showed to the Prophet, both with his money and his soul, became the beneficiary of this supplication of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nawroz, the Persian New Year

One Nawroz day, Mansur Dawaaniqi, the Abbasid Caliph who took over the caliphate after his brother Abu al-A’bbas Saffaah, ordered Imam Musa Kadhim (a.s.) to present himself in the gathering of the Eid of Nawroz.  This was so that the people could come and greet him and offer their gifts to him, which he should accept.
The Imam (a.s.) told Mansur, “Nawroz is the customary Eid of the Iranians and nothing has been said about it in Islam.”
To which Mansur replied, “This act is politically motivated and is intended to keep my soldiers happy.  I place you under the oath of the Great God that you accept my request and present yourself at that gathering.”
The Imam (a.s.) agreed and arrived at the assembly. The army generals, nobles and the common masses arrived in his august presence, greeted him, and presented their gifts to him.
In the meantime, Mansur had ordered one of his slaves to position himself near the Imam (a.s.) and maintain a record of the money and gifts presented to him.  The last person who had come to meet the Imam (a.s.) was an old man, who said to him:
“O’ Son of the Messenger of Allah!  I am an impoverished person and lack the money to present you with gifts, but my gift for you today are three verses of elegy, which my grandfather had composed for your grandfather, Husain Ibn A'li(a.s.).”
Having said this, he then recited the verses.عَجِبتُ لِمَصقُولٍ عَلاَكَ فرِندُهُ     يَوْم الْهياَجِ عَلاَکَ غُباَر
The Imam (a.s.) responded appreciatively, saying, “I have accepted your gift,” after which he prayed for the man.
Then, turning to the slave, he instructed, “Go to Mansur, inform him of these gifts and ask him what has to be done about them?”
The slave did as he was told and upon returning, said to the Imam (a.s.):
“The Caliph has said: I have given them to you (Imam Musa Kadhim) as gifts.  Spend them as you desire.”
The Imam (a.s.) told the old man, “Take these riches and gifts, for I am giving them all to you as gifts.”
Muntahal Aa’maal, vol. 2, pg. 187.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Miqdad, the Great Sahabi (companion) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.)

In Ramadan, 2 AH, 313 Muslim fighters or Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) went outside Madina Al-Munawara to attack a Quraishi trade caravan coming from Sham (present Syria). The caravan was very big and had one thousand camels. Abu Sufyan, the enemy of Islam, was leading this caravan.
When the Muslims or Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) immigrated (Hijrah) from Makkah to Madina Al-Munawara, the polytheists attacked and robbed their houses. For this reason, the Prophet (pbuh) wanted to bring back the Muslims' money. Besides he wanted to punish the Quraish. So, he began threatening their trade caravans.
The Muslims or Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) camped near Badr wells. They were waiting for the arrival of the caravan. After a period of time, they heard bad news. The news was that Abu Sufyan changed the course of the caravan. Meanwhile, the Quraish were preparing a big army with good weapons to save the caravan from the Muslims.
The Muslims went out to control the trade caravan. They were not thinking about facing the big army.
Our Master the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) asked his companions' opinions.
Umar bin al-Khattab stood up and said: It's Quraish and its disloyalty (i.e. the Quraish are always disloyal). By Allah! It (the Quraish) has not become abase since it became strong. And it has not believed (in Allah) since it disbelieved (in Allah).
The Muslims or Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) were very worried when they heard Umar bin al-Khattab's words. Moreover, some of the Muhajirun (Emigrants) thought about coming back to Madina Al-Munawara.
During those sensitive moments, Hazrat Miqdad ibn Aswad al-Kindi (ra) stood up and said with enthusiasm:
Allah's Prophet, go on obeying Allah's order! We will support you! By Allah, we won't say as the Jews had said to their prophet: You and your Lord, go and fight! We will stay here! We say: You and your Lord, go and fight! We will fight with you.
Happy expression appeared on the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) face. Then the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) asked the Ansar (Helpers): What shall I do?
Sa'd ibn Muadh was a chief of the Banu Aus tribe answered: Allah's Prophet, we have believed in you. We will confess that which you have brought is true. We will promise to hear and obey! Then, Allah's Prophet, go on and do whatever you wanted! By Allah! If you asked us to cross the Red Sea, we would do!
The Muslims or Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) were full of enthusiasm. They got ready to face the polytheists with hearts filled with faith. The battle of Badr started and Muslims or Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) won it. Then they came back and remembered Hazrat Miqdad ibn Aswad al-Kindi's (ra) words.
Al-Miqdad belonged to Kinda's tribe. He escaped from his tribe and inhabited in Makkah. There he belonged to a man called al-Aswad bin Abid Yaqut al-Zuhry. So, people called him al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad. In connection with al-Miqdad, this verse came down: Call them with their fathers' names. For this reason, people called him al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad.
When Miqdad ibn Aswad became twenty-four years old, then he heard about our Master the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) mission. He hurried to believe in the new religion. Miqdad ibn Aswad kept his Islam a secret. He met our Master the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) secretly. Thus, he was among the earlier Muslims. He always felt the Muslims' sufferings.
Our Master the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) ordered his Sahaba (Companions of the Prophet (pbuh)) to immigrate (Hijrah) to Madina Al-Munawara. They immigrated one by one or group by group to avoid persecutions of polytheists.
Then Allah, the Glorified, ordered His Prophet to immigrate (Hijrah) to Madina Al-Munawara. Miqdad ibn Aswad rejoiced at the safety of Allah's Prophet. He admired the Muslim young man Imam Ali bin Abu Talib (as) who sacrificed his life to save our Master the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from polytheists' swords.
When our Master the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) immigrated (Hijrah) to Madina Al-Munawara, the polytheists attacked and robbed the Muslims' houses. So, our Master Master the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) thought about threatening the Quraishi trade caravan as a punishment. More